I am trying to get into more woodworking projects, but I'm not sure what saw I should use with my very limited experience. I want something versatile, to be able to cut pallets, or regular wood, maybe do some carvings with stencils. Is there something out there that can work in all sorts of ways like that? I don't want to spend thousands, and prefer just to spend a couple hundred. Any ideas???

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    Obligatory: Did you know there was a Woodworking Stack Exchange site? – JPhi1618 Apr 18 '16 at 20:10
  • How much room do you have? Are you looking for something hand held or is something like a table saw or band saw a fair suggestion? – JPhi1618 Apr 18 '16 at 20:11
  • @JPhi1618 perhaps OP wants recommendations for saws that cut metal and plastic. There's lots of stuff other than wood that needs sawing. – jqning Apr 20 '16 at 1:25
  • @jqning True, but the OP did use the woodworking tag, so I had to assume wood. – JPhi1618 Apr 20 '16 at 2:32
  • @JPhi1618 yeah makes sense – jqning Apr 20 '16 at 2:56

The versatility of almost any tool is wholly a function of the user's skill set. The tasks you describe, however, are so widely varying as to present a single-tool problem.

Rather than one do-all tool, set yourself up with a few quality tools. From your description I'd start with a circular saw (I like Makita) and a jigsaw (avoid gimmicks like laser guides, though LED lighting can be nice). Both can be had for about $125. That leaves you with enough for a specialty tool, like maybe a Dremel (the very definition of versatile) or a proper scroll saw for crafting.

Correction: The Makita goes for about $170 by itself, so my plan may not be ideal unless your budget is closer to $300.

  • Worm drive circular saws are a little more expensive but they usually last longer. Also I find less kick back than a direct drive. A good quality saw can cut sheet metal and even aluminum with carbide tipped blades. I agree with not getting hung up on lasers go for a higher amperage 7-1/4". A router can do lots of fun stuff but the bits can get expensive when getting into shaped bits with bearings on the tip. – Ed Beal Apr 18 '16 at 23:18
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    Worm drive saws are long and unwieldy for all but the burliest of men. I found them a real pain to work with. A Makita is a nicely-balanced tool and will last a woodworker 200 years. We used them like rental cars for years with nothing more than motor brush and cord changes. – isherwood Apr 19 '16 at 13:20

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